Frumgirl 1: Wanting In

“It’s like you guys have a fence around you,” said one guy from the program next door, “and I want in!”

This is actually a rather unusual response to meeting frummies. Kiddush Hashems are very infrequently made by acting the way Bais Yaakovs teach you to act.

More often, one finds themselves in a situation where it is necessary to explain why we do not attempt to convert the masses.

Which I had alway thought was because they are better off not Jewish, seeing as they get to heaven easier, but I’ve been told it’s because we are afraid of half-hearted conversions and relapses. Does anyone know?

in any way, people are far more curious about why we don’t missionize than how they can sign up.

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Published in: on July 1, 2008 at 4:15 PM  Comments (3)  

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  1. It’s both.
    A – they don’t need to, so why bother them?
    B – since part of being Jewish is the responsibility of behaving right (sustaining world, etc), we don’t need more half-hearted Jews floating around. And once you’ve converted, you’re kind of stuck.

    Christians missionarize because they say they want everyone to go to heaven. Judaism believes non-Jews go to heaven just fine. Muslims missionarize as a form of self-validation, which we don’t need. Both of them once missionarized when they had the brute power to do so; we never have.

  2. The reason we don’t missionize is, as the Gemara in Yevamos (47b) says, “קשים גרים לישראל כספחת”
    I think the argument that “they’re just fine the way they are” is a relatively recent theological invention. If you can find a source I’d love to see it. In ancient times we were big missionizers and it was only ended reluctantly after much controversy as is evident from the Gemara.

  3. CG is right on the money.

    As for a more modern interpretation, I was speaking with a Conservative Rabbi not too long ago, and he is of the opinion that with Christians and Muslims proselytizing for us, we become a living example for all G-d fearing nations, and that will lead them to seeing the merit in following the following the mitzvot of their own volition. I’m not sure I agree completely with him, but his theory certainly speaks to us as a light unto all nations.


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